(lotta ice, lotta snow, lotta wind)
I, that is, “I”, want to follow up on that discussion of the first person that excited me so much in reading Zadie Smith. I think of my dear friend, Leigh, when I write this, because she mentions over and over that what she wants to offer, through her art, is freedom. And Zadie Smith articulates a description of that permission, permission for such freedom, which she received from others. Which so influenced her work. Which opened the doors for her.
Again, to see if I can pass on this idea that moved me?
Zadie Smith proposes that when we think of an artist or writer – someone we don’t know personally – we tend to see that person as that art, or as that person in the novel. (ex. Rothko painting = Rothko; “I”, Portnoy = Philip Roth). She has nailed me there; of course that’s how I think. She then goes on to propose: because of the “I”, whom we assume is also the writer/artist, they capture us. We believe those artists. Those writers. And then – they can offer worlds which are ahead of ours, more spacious, more inclusive, more… well, more open.
In her words:
(The writer) had written things down that seem unsayable, impossible, and in taking that freedom for himself… passed that freedom down.
I am aware… that remarkable acts of art-making – bold, perverse, unbeholden, free – have had the side effect of changing the weather in a country, in a people, in a certain historical moment, and finally in me, conferring freedoms for which I now am very grateful.
Whew! Who can more eloquently argue for the power of art? “Conferring freedoms”.
So, yes, I head down to DC tomorrow to the Stimson Gallery. Leaving the white landscape behind temporarily. In order to hang some of my art, “my art” – to offer to viewers in the capitol.